Entry Date:
October 29, 2013

Microfluidic Cell Sorting and Analysis

Principal Investigator Rohit Karnik

Co-investigators Jeffrey Karp , Angela Belcher

Separation and analysis of cells is important for biomedical research, diagnostics, and cell therapeutics. We are developing new technologies to analyze and sort cells that minimize sample processing and improve performance over existing methods. We have pioneered microlfuidic devices for sorting of cells in continuous flow based on transient cell-surface adhesion, called cell rolling. In this process, we use molecular-level cell-surface interactions to steer cells flowing in microlfuidic devices, resulting in separation with high purity and recovery. For example, we have demonstrated the ability to directly separate cells from blood without prior sample processing, which opens the possibility of monitoring the white blood cells at the point of care. We have also developed devices to analyze cells based on adhesion- The cell-surface interactions directly result in a visual readout by affecting the motion of cells flowing through the devices. These devices are being used to elucidate the adhesion behavior of mesenchymal stem cells, which are gaining increasing attention for cell therapies. Finally, we have also developed a microfluidic circuit with a feed-forward loop to sort particles based on size and deformability, and are studying the flow of cells through constrained microchannels.